Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Security is an illusion (Score 1) 153

There's just too much volume to track all the content everywhere.

There are 350 million people in the USA, more or less. Including kids not of age to use computers. One computer, just one, operates at billions of instructions per second (when the code is written in anything efficient, like c.) The NSA has a newish huge data center located on the main trunks.

You do the math. If you still think they can't sieve that amount of data effectively, why then, good on you for your optimism. :)

Comment Re:Trump Derangement Syndrome (Score 1) 547

Trump is assumed by some to have won based on (anticipated) EC votes. However, three facts:

1 - The EC hasn't voted yet.

2 - The EC does not have to vote for Trump.

3 - Clinton got (a lot) more votes from, you know, the people.

Trump may well end up to be president. But he isn't the president yet; he isn't even the president-elect yet.

Comment Warrants not required (Score 1) 153

They are not allowed to hack my computer even IF THEY HAVE A WARRANT, because no warrant can be granted for a computer on foreign soil.

I think what our courts would (eventually) say is that the constitution doesn't protect anyone, or anything, outside of the USA itself, and so no warrant is required in the first place.

That's pretty much the entire basis our CIA was built upon.

I'm not saying this is a good outlook; but I am saying it is the outlook.

Comment Security is an illusion (Score 1) 153

I have canceled more things than I've submitted for that exact reason.

They could have read it right off your keyboard anyway. By far the easiest place to monitor communications is at the unencrypted endpoints. If you don't want anyone to know what you're thinking, don't say it, don't enter it into a computer in any form, and don't write it down. That'll protect you. For at least a little while longer, anyway.

"Two people can keep a secret -- if one of them is dead."

Comment Then again, there are the facts (Score 1) 226

The Inquisition killed about 3,000 people over the course of 350 years.

"The inquisition" comprises a combined series of undertakings beginning with Pope Lucius III's instigation in 1184 CE and terminating in 1834 CE - a span of about 650 years. The Spanish Inquisition was one chapter of this, but by no means can be reasonably considered an isolated or peak event.

Perhaps you'll find this of interest.

Historically speaking, Christianity, between the inquisitions, the crusades, the pograms, blood libel, and just general oppression of various and sundry kinds, has a great deal of theism-based violence to answer for.

Comment Re:Not people: It's a computer problem (Score 1) 394

If you just have to punch a name into a computer and its suddenly all in front of you though, it becomes second nature to just dig into anyone you feel like -- whether or not you have legal justification for doing so. Time and money are gone from the equation.

That's a lot of words to say "Google" :)

Comment Re:DVDA for your data (Score 1) 394

Without going into detail, speaking as an engineer, one signal... many signals... the distinction is not a serious technical obstacle, other than money, which, again, not a serious obstacle to the state. Do you really believe this type of tech was only used 1:1?

The feds monitor emissions from vans, from aircraft, in vehicles, and from orbit. If they want you, they already have you. I write very high end signal processing software. I assure you this has been going on for decades. We just have better computers now. They have always had the best computers money could buy, so where we are today, they were some time ago.

It's just the way it is.

Comment Test... tickle. Is this mic on? (Score 1) 84

A high-quality microphone that is always listening and voice recognition are useful right up to the point where they are used against you.

Oh, you mean that smartphone you've been carrying in your pocket for years now? That high quality microphone? That voice-recognition? That always-on connection to the world?

The Echo and Amazon brethren are the least of our problems here. Also, as currently implemented, these devices recognize their names locally, and then talks to the world. I have watched the network traffic quite carefully -- that's how it works. For now, anyway.

I'm considerably more concerned with the smartphones. They're much more powerful, and the concern I have isn't so much what a corporation might do with my speech (try to sell me somehting?), but what the government might do with it. Because generally, a corporation can dangle temptation, but a government can do you direct and consequential harm.

Comment Not a problem (Score 1) 84

That's the problem with this. It's only useful if you put your eggs in one basket

Nope. Amazon is perfectly agreeable with you downloading the music you buy as well as making it available for you to stream via the dot and sister devices. They make it trivially easy.

You can do whatever you like with your music as purchased from Amazon. I download everything I buy. There's even a bulk-download capability. it's awesome.

Comment Here's why (Score 1) 394

If you know of a crime, why would you not report it?

Because "crime" is not an adequate discriminator for "bad."

Just a few obvious examples over time: Helping a slave escape from slavery was a crime. Using a fountain while being black was a crime. Having various types of wholly consensual and informed sex has been a crime. Using various drugs is a crime. Going naked in public is often a crime. There are many more examples like these.

None of which rise to the level of "bad", except inasmuch as they demonstrate the government is bad.

And that is why if you know of a crime, if you are a decent human being, you would definitely not report it.

Comment Not people: It's a computer problem (Score 1) 394

Look, I know my browsing will be in a huge database that nobody will look at it.

The problem is not correctly posed as "nobody will look at it." This isn't a people problem.

What "looks at it" is computer systems, programmed to look at it. What a human would consider "lost in a sea of data", a computer will have no trouble finding, characterizing, and reporting back as "this is the data you were looking for" to any interested inquiry, perfectly formatted for immediate use / subsequent action.

So the day they make your particular fetish or recreational substance / entertainment / political stance / religion / etc. a crime, that data will immediately identify you as a vulnerable citizen. Now it comes down to what use can be made of you. Porn sweep to impress the mommies? A little pressure to get you to do X or Y? Filling the need for unpaid slave labor in prison factories? Soylent green? (I hate that damned movie, but...)

In the US, the constitution explicitly forbids -- both to the federal government and that of the states -- going back in time and making crimes out of actions that were not crimes at the time, or increasing punishment along the same lines. These are the "ex post facto" provisions. In recent decades, a spate of such laws have been crafted and put into broad use, treating the constitutional prohibitions as irrelevant. Generally the mechanism used has been sophistry ("You absolutely will not sell hamburgers" ... "Why, that's not a hamburger! That's a ground beef sandwich!" ... "Okay then, carry on.") and pandering to intentionally crafted, hysteria-induced mommy fear (Terrorists! Drugs! Think of the children!), which is often spiced with not-very-subtle appeals to jingoism, superstition, and classist notions.

Unless the citizens can control the government, a capability US citizens no longer have, this kind of cancerous spreading of unauthorized and forbidden exercise of power is very likely. Your data stashed in some database today renders you vulnerable to any part or parcel of perfidy by any state actor. The only sure way to prevent this is to keep your data out of these databases in the first place. And it looks like you've forfeited that option. Sorry.

Comment Quotes, context, and originalism (Score 2) 394

I don't think you understand that what Franklin meant one way, we can mean entirely another -- both can be sincere, and both uses are entirely appropriate. Nothing is lost by attributing the quote, either.

The stance that personal liberty and immunity from government oversight of personal and consensual activities is a good thing, and that trading these off for (generally the illusion of, but very occasionally the actuality of) safety is an act so vile that it renders the trader unworthy of those liberties and immunity, is a very well established one. Franklin's words then fit such an outlook today very well, regardless of what he intended them to mean at the time.

Words are like that. When we aren't talking about law, words are tools to be used as we see fit. As they should be.

Slashdot Top Deals

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.